The third UNESCO World Forum on Culture and the Cultural Industries set out to ensure that culture is taken into account in international development policies, and notably in on-going negotiations, within the United Nations, to define the post-2015 sustainable development agenda. Ellen Tise, former IFLA President, attended the event on behalf of IFLA.

The Forum sets out to:

  • Share experiences and propose strategic recommendations on the role of culture and cultural industries in promoting sustainable development;
  • Showcase the results of the United Nations Development Group post-2015 Dialogues on Culture and Development; and
  • Inform the elaboration process of the post-2015 development agenda of the United Nations.

The Forum analysed culture’s crucial role in forging a sustainable future for societies through its potential to add value and stimulate employment, growth and innovation while also promoting social cohesion, identity, human dignity and inclusion.

In order to generate tangible data, UNESCO, the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) partnered as co-lead agencies for ‘Culture and Development’ at both global and country levels. National consultations in five countries (Ecuador, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Mali and Morocco) were held around the subthemes of:

  • culture and poverty reduction;
  • culture and education;
  • culture, gender equality and women’s empowerment;
  • culture, sustainable cities and urbanization;
  • culture, environment and climate change;
  • culture, inclusion and reconciliation.

The outcome of the consultations will feed directly into the Secretary General’s report on the Sustainable Development Goals to the UN.

Furthermore, UNESCO launched the Florence Declaration, which calls on governments, civil society and the private sector to enhance:

  • human and institutional capacities;
  • legal and policy environments;
  • new partnership models and innovative investment strategies;
  • benchmarks and impact indicators to monitor and evaluate the contribution of culture to monitor and evaluate the contribution of culture to sustainable development.


The UNESCO World Forum on Culture and the Cultural Industries had its third meeting from the 2nd to the 4th of October 2014 in Florence, Italy. The two previous forums were also hosted in Italy and started the long-awaited dialogue between the public and private sectors on the role of culture in development. The growing awareness has led both national Governments and United National Agencies to increase their efforts to measure the contribution of culture to sustainable economic and social growth, with a special attention on job opportunities for younger generations.